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statement he is honored that she'll participate. she says she's humbled at the honor. just 16 hours after her husband was murdered, she had the courage to tell a crowd of hundreds in jackson, mississippi, that she was determined to make sure her husband's death would not be in vain. 50 years later after a life devoted to civil rights, she'll deliver the invocation at the inauguration of our country's first african-american president. you kept your word. your husband did not shed his blood in vain. had it not been for him him and others, we would not be celebrating what we will celebrate at inauguration day. i'm glad that medgar and others will see that you kept the faith and the nation has grown. this is what america is about.
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making those that shed their blood not having shed it in vain. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the folks that brought you the iraq war. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. the folks who quack for iraq have a knack for bad ideas. they pushed us into war ten years ago, they made their case with lies and half truths and flimflam. we had to get revenge for 9/11, so let's attack iraq even though it was al qaeda that hit the twin towers and the pentagon. we have to attack iraq because we've got evidence they have weapons of mass destruction, wmd, even if there's no evidence they have nuclear weapons and it would turn out they didn't have chemical or biological either. we have to attack iraq, the hawks, they promised it would
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bring peace between israel and the palestinians. the road to jerusalem runs through baghdad it was said. what we've got instead is the loss of even a chance for peace in the middle east. well, tonight the people who sold america the iraq war are out selling more warfare in the middle east. they want military action against syria, they want war waged against syria, and they want chuck hagel out of the way. why? because he's just the kind of guy who will ask, what should we have asked when "w" took us to war in iraq? is this really the smart thing to do for us? we've got peter beinart right now with the daily beast and sam stein with "the huffington post." thank you. i have been reading your stuff. sam, you quoted colonel lawrence wilkerson who served as chief of staff to colin powell. when he was secretary of state. here is what he told you about republican opposition to hagel. quote, it's not all about revenge or retaliation for anti-party stances in the past but fear of what hagel's advice and counsel might be in the future. the hardline gopers and the neocons have unfulfilled plans, plans for syria, iran, and the greater middle east.
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these plans that envision almost endless conflict in the region are in the main opposed by people such as hagel. well, sam, you point and it may well be true you've done more work on this than i have. the sense that the vision is for almost an orwellian war in "1984," endless war in the middle east, is that the prospect that the neocons hold for us? >> i don't know if it's that stated, but it certainly is underlining a lot of what we're hearing about hagel now. a lot of the media attention has been on some of the past statements involving the jewish lobby as he called it, involving the gay ambassador to luxembourg, but those are sort of side shows. what this comes down to is the future of obama's foreign policy. chuck hagel in many ways represents the clearest break yet by this administration from the george w. bush era foreign policy. keep in mind the president continued a lot of these bush era programs. we haven't really had a substantive comprehensive conversation about what went wrong in iraq. chuck hagel's nomination
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represents a clean break. i think that's very scary for a lot of these neocons. >> let me go to peter. i have always respected the way your brain works. you think a lot, which is a good thing for a writer to do occasionally is to think. you think and you really change your mind, which is very refreshing. and i think you've wrestled with these issues of the middle east, and i guess the question is if you get hagel in there, aren't you basically getting barack obama with a war record? what's the difference between barack obama and hagel? >> i think the difference between barack obama and hagel is that hagel says publicly some of the things that barack obama only thinks privately. and hagel would be to this administration what eisenhower was in the '50s and what colin powell was in the 1990s. the guy who has seen war really up close and doesn't allow any of his colleagues to imagine that once you launch a war, that you can control what happens afterwards. that's what eisenhower used to say again and again. you're a student of history, chris. you know that's why he kept us out of vietnam. that is exactly --
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>> kept us out of suez, too. >> exactly. that was eisenhower's greatest sense of pride was at the height of the cold war for eight years he kept us out of a ground war. he ended the war in korea. this is the kind of guy that hagel is. and he will bring the very dark lessons of iraq and afghanistan into the iran debate, and i think that's fundamentally what the republican foreign policy establishment fears. >> had a couple middle eastern fellows on both sides of that line over there. add into that list of people who have seen the face of war and became peace fellows, rabin, the great martyr in israel. throw in the name anwar sadat. throw in the name of the president of israel, a great man, i love the guy, shimon peres. they understand what you're talking about, peter, and i think we all do. >> and not only that, but meir dagan. there's been a revolt in israel against bibi netanyahu. talking too casually about war with iran. >> the white house isn't exactly hiding the ball on this one. we quoted an administration official who said very
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forthright one of the reasons they want chuck hagel is he articulates the world view that war should be the absolute last resort, that you must exhaust all options. for a lot of people, that seems common sense, but for a good part of the foreign policy establishment in d.c., that's not exactly something they want to hear. so, yes, they are bringing hagel for that exact purpose that peter illustrated. >> i have been reading -- i try to read everything, "washington examiner," everything, i have to tell you i get the feeling there's some people pushing for a much more aggressive stance in syria. for hawks on iran, chuck hagel is a scary prospect since he's been skeptical of using military options there. here is what he said back in 2010. let's listen. >> once you begin a military operation and you ask any sergeant, and it's the sergeants and the guys at the bottom, not the policymakers, that have to fight the war. they're the ones who have to do all the dying and all the fighting and make the sacrifices, not the policymakers. but my point is once you start
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that, you better be prepared to find 100,000 troops because it may take that or eventually where you're going, my earlier point, you don't know. and you can't just start out with a concept of, well, we're going to do this, but it will be marginalized, it will be limited warfare. i don't think any nation can ever go into it that way. >> let's take a look at those words themselves. sam and peter in turn, analyze what he means there because i am for a war with iran if we have to. i think all three of us are if we have to, but we also realize it's not going to stop with a bombing. there's a lot of reaction that will come from the other side. hezbollah could be launched against israel, launched against us in our hemisphere. we don't know what buttons they have to push and will push if we go to war. sam, you first. what did the former senator have to say there? >> what i take from talking to people close to chuck hagel is he views all of these issues through the mindset and lens of people who are on the ground because he's been there before. when you talk to people in the administration what they say
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they're excited about is what he can do on things like veterans affairs and soldiers that are returning from war zones. what my colleague josh hirsch is reporting is that hagel actually is semi-supportive or has been in the past of the drone program. part of the reason he has been supportive of the drone program is because it involves the minimum amount of soldier casualties. you're literally not getting people on the ground fighting the war. i think going forward if he is confirmed as secretary of defense, what you're going to see is a lot policy making from the vantage point of how do you limit suffering, how do you limit the need for soldiers on the ground, and what do you do when soldiers return from the battlefields. >> your thoughts, peter? >> there's going to be a huge battle in 2013 about whether we can get syria's diplomacy going with iran. of course, we don't know to what degree iran is going to play ball, but what we know is there's going to be a fight in washington about whether the united states will be able to compromise at all in order to get a diplomatic deal or whether we have expectations that iran is going to get rid of all its enriched uranium, even levels
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that are not necessary for creating a nuclear weapon that would make a deal impossible. and what this is really about is essentially deciding how bad war would be so we figure out how much we're willing to push for a deal. that's what a lot of this fight is really about. >> i think that's it. i agree with you completely, peter. and, sam, you agree it's about weaponization and what stage do you cut off this or what stage the iranians say we're not going to create weapons, can you live with it. we're not going to create weapons. we could, but we're not going to do it. right? >> but it's also about limiting the domestic political fallout of doing something like that. and, you know, the administration does need cover when they do pursue things like diplomacy with iran, when they hold back on putting forces into syria or trying to arm the syrian opposition, and certainly on the israel/palestine question, and hagel does give them cover. the other thing to add is we will have a drawdown of troops from afghanistan. there will be a faction of people in this country that argues it's a bad thing. hagel gives you cover. because he has been through that before. >> do you think he's a credible republican or is he so outside
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the party sort of apparatus now, especially with lindsey graham trashing him, is he still a credible bipartisan evidence? >> it's a great question. what is a credible republican on this thing? i think we don't give enough credit to the fact that there's a big fissure within the republican party over these very questions. we quoted dr. brzezinski in this article talking about how this goes back to the basic debate over interventionism. it used to be republicans were hesitant towards that. i think there's going to be a lot of republicans in this town who end up speaking out in favor of chuck hagel strictly because they don't like what happened over the past 12 years with respect to u.s. engagement overseas. >> i would add -- >> you beat my optimism on that one, sam. >> i'll answer. >> keep at it. >> there have been an avalanche of ex-reagan administration people, frank carlucci, colin powell, others, who have come out -- john warner, who have come out in favor. i think there's a generational split. look, barack obama beat mitt romney on foreign policy easily. this is not a guy who walks around in the way that democrats used to for all those years looking over his shoulder at this republican party that
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america trusts on national security. those days are gone. so i don't think he has the same fears that democrats did in the past. >> let's be frank. the public is very wary on the two wars we've waged. look at any polling numbers. they want them to end. i think that works obviously towards hagel's favor. >> john warner saved us from ollie north. maybe he can help hagel get in there. "weekly standard" editor bill kristol has been leading the charge against hagel. why is he doing this and why do people listen to his views on foreign policy? considering how wrong he was on iraq. good question. i think we know the answer. he's a charmer, he's brilliant, a great networker. anyway, let's watch him. >> whatever else you can say about this war, let me make one point, george bush is not fighting this like vietnam. we don't need to -- >> saddam may be. >> but it's not going to happen. >> let me take a call -- >> this is going to be a two-month war, not an eight-year war. >> it's going to be a two-month war in iraq. a hell of a predictor. like dick morris making his predictions and karl rove. dead wrong.
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what is the genius of bill kristol? i swear he's got organizations all over the place, he's everywhere, and yet he's wrong a lot. how does he get away with it, sam? >> he's very good at being part of the media conversation. he has a lot of platforms that he can utilize, and as you mentioned, he's very charming. his predictions have been wrong a lot of the times, but it doesn't seem to stop him from getting a megaphone or an outlet, and i think a lot of people like the idea of having debates over these things. they like the idea of one side and another battle it out over the direction of u.s. engagement overseas. >> i agree with you completely. >> there's another point, we live in a media ecosystem where by and large you can usually go on to discuss the current foreign policy debate and never be called on your past views. >> not here. not on "hardball." not on "hardball." we do it here. >> that's why i think this conversation is so valuable. if you look at most of these interviews, especially on some other networks, by and large you don't have to do that. >> we're going to keep calling them here.
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you guys are great guests. sam and peter, respect you both. if you want to know what gun control advocates are up against, look at what happened on cnn last night. what a horror show. >> and i'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms. doesn't matter how many lemmings you get on the street begging for them to have their guns taken. we will not relinquish them. do you understand? >> number one reason we need background checks. that kind of guy. keep him away from weapons. he's a radio talk show host and you heard him. alex jones, he doesn't want guns for hunting or personal protection. he wants guns to fight the government with. that's what he said last night. we'll get into that. the obama administration finally has the wind at its back on the issue of gun control. we know what the opposition looks like. it's that guy. red storm rising. the crisis in the republican party. some republicans resent the hostile takeover by the tea party. some republicans in the tea party is fighting with itself. we have one of the combatants joining us, dick armey. and the latest outrage involving penn state.
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the governor of pennsylvania has decided that the real victims of jerry sandusky were not the children that were raped and abused and raped but the penn state football program itself. he's filed a lawsuit against the ncaa seeking to reverse those sanctions and exonerate the school. finally, only one of the following four things are less popular than congress. meth labs, nfl replacement refs, used car salesmen, and root canals. that's next. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ or help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪ into a fifth anniversary of remission? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it.
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the author of perhaps the definitive book on american politics has died. richard ben cramer wrote "what it takes," a thousand-plus page book about the 1988 presidential election. the book chronicled the personalities and idiosyncrasies of candidates like bob dole, mike dukakis, and george herbert walker bush. nbc first read calls it the unofficial textbook of washington. if you haven't read it, then you don't get it. richard ben cramer was 62. we'll be right back. ♪
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i have direct deposit on my visa prepaid. my paycheck is loaded right on my card. automatic. i am not going downtown standing in line to cash it. i know where my money is, because it is in my pocket. i got more time with my daughter, we got places to go. [ freeman ] go open a new world, with visa prepaid. more people go with visa.
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welcome back to "hardball." it's been 25 days since the shooting in newtown, connecticut, and two years since the massacre in tucson that left six dead and injured u.s. congresswoman gabrielle giffords. the vice president is spearheading a gun control task force in response, and outside organizations are organized to make sure this time gun laws are strengthened. gun control advocates are up against a vehement and sometimes incoherent opposition. one example, alex jones, who has called for piers morgan to be deported because of his positions. last night morgan asked jones why. take a look at the face on the pro-guns side. >> we did it to point out this is globalism, and the mega banks that control the planet and brag they have taken over in bloomberg, ap, reuters, you name it, brag that they're going to get our guns as well. they have taken everybody's guns
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but the swiss and the american people, and when they get our guns, they can have their world tyranny while the government buys 1.6 billion bullets, armored vehicles, tanks, predator drones armed in u.s. skies being used to arrest people in north dakota. the second amendment isn't there for duck hunting. it's there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs. >> joining me is roxanna green, whose daughter, christina taylor green, was killed in that tucson massacre, and former governor of pennsylvania and mayor of philadelphia, ed rendell. what's your mental and emotional reaction when you hear him spew that sort of armageddon view about guns? >> i'm speechless. i really don't even know what to say. i have no comment. unbelievable. >> governor, you have experienced -- pennsylvania is relatively free of insane people, but you hear of people -- this guy is talking about the united states being a tyranny coming to take his guns, and he's well armed and he's going to take it on.
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>> first, chris, i want to say to miss green the commercial you did is wonderful. and i think we'll talk about it, but it's absolutely crucial to keep the intensity level up for all those who believe we need to do something. so congratulations. chris, when i saw that clip, it made me happy, and i'll tell you why. because it painted out to average americans as clearly as anything we can say how crazy the other side is and how reasonable people, including nra members, including gun owners, reasonable people will agree that there are things we can do to minimize the risk here, to reduce the harm and the carnage, and we have to do them. >> i thought he did a good job. i think piers did an excellent job of restraint. i don't think i would have shown that kind of restraint. he made a couple points that are very important i thought, that in england they have 37 people killed by guns a year. we have over 11,000 killed. we have a real problem with guns. let me show a bit of that ad the governor mentioned you were in. here is part of the ad you made for the group mayors against
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illegal guns. let's listen. >> my 9-year-old daughter was murdered in the tucson shooting. i have one question for our political leaders. when will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby? whose child has to die next? to every mother, we cannot wait. we have to demand a plan. >> how do you tell a gentleman in the united states senate or congress or a woman that you may lose your career over this issue? i know we had a great liberal senator from pennsylvania, joe clark, who lost his career over this. how do you tell them to stand up, man up, woman up, and do the right thing even if it means they lose the next election? how do you make that case? >> i really don't have the answers for that. all i know is that i'm encouraging people in their communities to call their congressman or senators and demand a plan right now. our little ones' lives are at stake. it's something i'm just going to fight for for as long as it takes.
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i am really confident they're going to do something now ever since newtown. i don't know why it keeps on happening, but i think there's got to be a sensible plan, common sense gun regulation out there. i just hope and pray that we can have background checks on every single gun that's purchased, that, you know, we go back to the ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and we make gun trafficking a federal offense. >> can we do those things, governor, that she just mentioned? they've all been done at some time or another then discarded. >> sure, we can, chris. and roxanna is part of the answer and so are the tucson and virginia tech victims who joined together in an ad. so are the aurora victims. all of us have to keep the pressure on. what happens is when there's a mass murder, everyone is outraged. we have wonderful memorial services, there are tears and we vow to do something, and then three weeks later we forget about it.
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but this time we're not going to forget, and i think what roxanna is doing and what others are doing will ensure that. and, chris, the nra's power to defeat people in elections is absolutely overrated, and you're looking at the prime example. you know that pennsylvania has the second highest number of nra members in the state of any state in the union. i won three state elections with the nra dead set against me by 10 points, 12 points, and 21-point margins, and i did it without compromising any of the things that i believed in on guns. reasonable nra members in a frank luntz poll, 74% of them agree with roxanna that no one should get a gun without a background check. >> well said. this morning mark kelly and gabrielle giffords called for an end to gun violence and announced they formed an organization to challenge the nra up front. let's listen. >> i have a gun. gabby and i are both gun owners.
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we're strong supporters of the second amendment. but we've got to keep it from the wrong hands. >> when it happens in a school, it's time to say -- >> enough. >> back to you roxanna. this kind of shooting that goes on, it's usually with a semiautomatic, mass shootings, the spree shootings, if you will, that killed your daughter. this was at a public event. to me it was a crime against democracy. you had a public meeting of a u.s. congress person meeting with their constituents, and a guy comes up and starts shooting people all over the place. is there any way to hide from this gun violence? it seems we're all vulnerable to this thing now. >> i don't know. i mean, i think it's an act of terrorism what he did and several other criminals that are involved in these mass shootings, and when you can't go to your place of worship, a grocery store like where my daughter was, your school, a movie theater, i just don't understand it. these are supposed to be safe places for our children and for innocent people. so i just encourage people to
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visit and get involved so we can do something about this. >> i want to recommend to everybody as governor rendell said a minute ago, everybody should watch this thing on youtube, this crazy guy, alex jones, going up against piers morgan. that will tell you what the face of the enemy looks like on this issue better than anything he can say. this guy is crazy. he thinks george walker bush, the president of the united states, ordered the destruction of 9/11. he's the guy that -- some sort of pumping action, blew up the world trade centers and the pentagon. he did it. that's what this nut case believes. anyway, thank you, roxanna green. and for your family we can only express our sympathy again, and, former governor ed rendell, thank you for your guts. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. i paint people from my life mostly.
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the allstate value plan. we replaced people with a machine.r, what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello? ally bank. your money needs an ally. back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." first jon stewart tries to grapple with the house republicans who voted against hurricane sandy relief money.
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it's not easy. >> a couple months ago america was hit by two major disasters, one of them natural, hurricane sandy, and one of them somewhat manmade, the republican majority in the house of representatives. now, the second of those disasters is pretty much making it impossible to clean up the first one. >> 67 republicans voted against $9.7 billion in aid for victims of superstorm sandy. >> what possible reason could you have for voting against aid to hurricane victims by way of a flood reimbursement fund? what did the eastern seaboard ever do to any of you? >> paul ryan joins 66 other republicans in voting against it. >> okay, well, i know what the eastern seaboard did to him. look, republicans, i get -- i get that you're the party of limited government. but we're not talking about obama care here. this is two paragraphs giving aid to people in need, and you still couldn't bring yourselves to vote for it because of some stupid principle that you yourselves only occasionally live by.
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here's the thing. if you can't vote for this, then we're [ bleep ] for the next two years. i'm not saying you are responsible for all the problems facing our country, but you sure are making them harder to fix. >> steve palazzo, one of the no votes on sandy relief, tried to get funding for his own state after hurricane katrina. turns out he's got company. think progress put together a list of 37 house republicans who voted against sandy funding but who have in the past supported federal disaster funds for their home states. a new ppp poll asked people to compare congress with some other realities of american life. the good news is here are a few things congress beat out in terms of popularity. playground bullies, meth labs, and lindsay lohan. anyway, the bad side, congress came out less popular than this stuff. nfl replacement refs, used car salesmen, and root canals. overall favorability for congress stands at 9%. that's out of 100%.
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bill maher is not done needling mitt romney. >> the election is behind us. mitt romney is -- what's going on? the career over for him in politics? >> you know, that's what everybody says. i am not of that opinion. he's going to be running again forever. >> he won't run again. >> are you kidding? ever since the apollo astronauts accidentally brought his egg back from space in 1971, he has been programmed to run for president. long after you and i are dead and gone, jay, when there is nothing but roaches and plastic bags, there will be mitt romney singing "god bless america" in a hazmat suit. >> i think mitt romney will forever be the candidate the comedians compare to a cone head. and today marks the birthday of elvis presley, the king of rock and roll. he'd be 78 today. it's impossible, i believe, to overestimate this man's importance to our country's history, and i mean it. he is the king. up next, the tea party took over the republican party, and now the tea party may be coming apart at its seams.
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hey, there. here's what's happening. the ranking republican on the senate foreign relations committee tells andrea mitchell hillary clinton will likely testify two weeks from today. in the meantime the only suspect in custody for the consulate attack was just released in tunisia due to a lack of evidence. he remains under investigation. back here at home, losses on wall street for a second day. the dow dropped 55, the s&p down 5, the nasdaq down 7. let's get you back to "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." ever since the republicans lost in november, the parties appeared to be in kind of a civil war, and donors are zipping their wallets because these don't like the party's direction. yet the tea party wing wants to push the party further right in some cases. what's going on with the republican party? we've got an expert. the former house republican majority leader and former freedomworks chairman dick armey. i will henceforth call you mr. armey. mr. armey, i'm a hill rat, and i always look up to guys that have been elected. i'm going to ask you broad questions, we'll narrow it down to freedomworks later on. what's going on with your party? i thought in that first debate romney had the number on the president. he's talking about spending, creating jobs, sticking to economics. he looked like he had a winning line, and then he went to benghazi and rape and rotten apple stuff. what should you party have been this year? why wasn't your party what it should have been this year?
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>> obviously there are a lot of foolish mistakes and that 48% of the american people thing that he did. most of the mistakes were mistakes made by candidates on the campaign trail. what the party is struggling with within itself is how after george w. bush and the spendthrift majority that they lost stuff with a few years ago trying to rediscover its relationship to constitutional limitations on big government, fiscal responsibility, limited government regulation administration during a period of time when obviously you have the president who is hard against that and a great communicator for his big government point of view. so there's an intellectual struggle here, but it is a party that is once again searching its way back to the kind of party that once held the affection and the respect and won the votes of the american people.
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they just have to struggle along as it moves in that direction. >> you're an economics professor. you're a philosopher of sorts. you have always said to me you're not a politician. here's the question. if you say you're the party of limited government, of constitutional authority and limited government in its truest sense, why do you have guys like rick santorum running for president to outlaw or get rid of contraception? why does your party want a national law against gay marriage? why are you so much involved in abortion all the time? why do you have candidates talking about rape victims? why don't you stay out of people's lives if you really want limited government? >> well, once again you have to understand, first of all, in our party, and i would hope the same in the democrat party, if you fill out the proper forms, put down the correct registration fees, you can run for whatever office you want. you have had a few rather strange people running in a democrat primary on occasions. we have some people in our primaries sometimes. everybody has a right to be
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their own person emphasizing that which they think is most important to them. what we did in our movement, what is known as the tea party movement, we tried to get everybody focused on the broad economic issues, the bread and butter issues, the job issues, those are the important things for the american people. >> why does your party platform have all this other -- mr. armey, i respect you, i know you care about your politics, you're a true believer, but you're not making sense. why does your party fill its platform with this stuff, creating personhood for somebody a second after there's a conception, a fertilized egg, giving that fertilized egg 14th amendment rights to property? why do you keep getting involved with this nutty stuff in your platform if you say it's just the crazy candidates? >> well, this is a problem we have. maybe it's a communication problem. maybe it's that you're so misguided you think i'm misguided. >> no, i read your party's platform. do you? i read the platform. it's not just rotten apples.
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it's your point of view. >> the democratic party has all kind of things in their platform that i think are unusual, strange, or miss the big points of the nation's biggest -- >> name one. name one. >> every party's platform -- >> well, name one. >> well, what is it, homosexual marriage, all right. abortion on demand. these issues are in your platform. you don't think it's strange for these issues to be in your platform pointing in one direction, but you consider it outrageous that the other party has the same issues pointing in another direction in their platform. >> well, the democratic party generally supports roe v. wade. it does not support abortion on demand. and i got to tell you, the issue that's going to be decided state by state, the issue of a marriage, and it's not going to be decided by a national point of view which is let's outlaw gay marriage. let me ask you about your situation.
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first -- i'm going to go to freedomworks. i have to talk -- go ahead. >> i'm happy to have that issue settled wherever it is. i don't consider that to be the driving concern, worry, anxiety, anxiousness of the american people. we're worried about whether or not our children will have a job, a safe home, comfort and warmth, and a future retirement. >> i think your party's main strength and your ideology main strength is government spending. i think most americans, right, center, except for the far left, think we're spending too much money by the federal government, and the deficit thing is real and the debt thing is real and we're really in trouble. i agree, and it's a great strength. you should play to your strengths. let me ask you about freedomworks. we've had matt kibbe sitting in that chair across my table here so many nights, and he's a good spokesman for a conservative point of view, a tea party point of view. should we keep having him on or not? >> well, i mean, obviously it's your show, you go ahead. >> what do you recommend?
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>> when matt stays focused on the issues that are important to the broad base constituencies of this grassroots movement and the voting interests and on family concerns of the nation, he can be a good spokesman for them, but the question is, is he going to take his work and walk the walk along the same avenue as he talks the talk? when he gets misguided, when he gets a sense of misdirection for the activities, the energies, where he's going to put places, he probably ends up wasting a lot of opportunity and missing opportunities. but that's a course for him to work out. i'm retired from freedomworks. they will have to work out their business on their own terms. >> what is the fight within freedomworks? what's the fight? tell us -- tell the outsider who is not a tea party person, not a freedomworks person, what is all this noise coming out of the tea party movement, especially freedomworks?
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what is the fight about? >> first of all, understand the tea party movement is so much larger than freedomworks. freedomworks has been a very important part. what i'm anxious for is for freedomworks to once again be that organization of activist volunteers working across the country with a clear set of ideas, principles, policy objectives, and focusing their energy on that so that we can have a contribution to the kind of results we had in the election year of 2010. i believe the organization has gone adrift from that. i'm excited for the possibility that it will find its way back to the service, the great ideas, that it did for all those many years. >> okay. and if i read you right, you're much better off focusing on the economic issues on the right than focusing on abortion and contraception and gay marriage. you don't think you really have to talk about those issues much, right? you agree with that? >> again, and, of course, we've had people on our side of the aisle upset with me about saying that. but, you know, i got this years and years ago from the head of
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the texas right to work committee, which was take your position on this issue and keep your mouth shut about it. talk on the campaign trail about those issues that don't upset people where you can find agreement and they can share with you their real anxious concerns about their family and its future. >> sounds right to me on the right. i'm not on the right, but it sounds right. thank you very much dick armey. an independent person. you wouldn't think it was possible, but the governor of pennsylvania has made the penn state scandal worse. he says the real victims are the football program and the fans. buzz bissinger has a few things to say about that baby. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. now, here's one that will make you feel alive. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see? cause c-max has lots more horsepower than prius v, a hybrid that c-max also bests in mpg.
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well, there will be no rematch in ohio. governor john kasich has suffered from low approval ratings in most of his administration, but he doesn't have to worry about his predecessor taking his old job back. governor ted strickland said he will not take on kasich. who beat him in a republican tie back in 2010. a quinnipiac poll found 36% of ohio voters believe kasich deserves another term. we'll be right back. mine was earned in djibouti, africa, 2004.
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we're back. the college football season has come to an end, but in pennsylvania the battle is just beginning. republican governor tom corbett is suing the ncaa over the sanctions it handed penn state following a sex abuse scandal that rocked that place. in june former assistant coach jerry sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse involving ten boys over a 15-year span. penn state sanctions included a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl game ban, wins from 1998 through 2011 being vacated, and a reduction in scholarships. punishments the school for the governor objected to at the time. now the governor says the ncaa has piled on and the penn state community is suffering unnecessarily. let's watch the governor. >> i believe the ncaa took actions and piled on choosing to levy, in their words, unprecedented sanctions against penn state and its football program. these sanctions are an attack on
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the past, present, and future students of penn state, the citizens of our commonwealth, and our economy. as governor of this commonwealth, i cannot and will not stand by and let it happen without a fight. >> well, corbett has been under the spotlight for his role in this scandal because he was the commonwealth's attorney general when the state began investigating sandusky. the incoming attorney general, democrat kathleen kane, campaigned on a promise to find out why the case dragged on for so long. michael smerconish is an expert on this issue. he's a nationally syndicated radio host and an msnbc political analyst. and the great buzz bissinger is a best-selling author and columnist for the daily beast. i'm going to have to start with our guest, michael. let's go to buzz on this. what is going on here? i'm looking at all the numbers. we don't have to do -- corbett has been in trouble politically. the state people -- the voters don't like the way he's handled this matter. suddenly they're coming to his support saying what a great job he's doing in fighting these sanctions against penn state.
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is this just sheer politics or what? politics. i mean, i think the suit is absurd. many legal scholars have said it's completely absurd and has no standing. if it was fully litigated, the sanctions would be over against penn state. plus it would cost millions of dollars. i live in pennsylvania. i don't want my money wasted on this thing. he clearly did this to appeal to the penn state base and community and alums which are a huge part of the state. because he may be in trouble for re-election. it's one of the most transparent political acts i've ever seen and really, really despicable. it means he didn't get it. it also means penn state didn't get it. they're a silent partner in this thing. i know they can't fight the suit, but they want the sanction lifted. this was about the culture of football. it was a hideous criminal act. to say it's not -- football has nothing to do with it, it's a disgrace. >> let me ask you, in my
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religion, it's good to suffer some penance in admission of guilt, and then you move on. but when you try to cover something up and you don't confess or accept punishment for it, it stays with you. why doesn't penn state want to get this over with, take their punishment and penalty and get in the huddle and figure out the future? why do they want to go back at this thing when everybody knows they were guilty? >> well, i think penn state probably does want to continue on and get this behind them. and i think it needs to be pointed out this is governor corbett acting independent of penn state. even though he has sat on the board of trustees. listen, chris. i share the skepticism of buzz s bying bissinger about the acts. he has taken a thumping in the polls personally. this litigation might be popular with litigations. one of the reason he's taken such a hurt is people look at him and wonder why as attorney general it took so long for him to move on sandusky. why when he had one credible reporter meaning a child who was
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then founded in his complaints. why didn't they slap the cuffs on sandusky? but i have to say, i don't like that ncaa sanction. i think it was too stiff of a sanction on the football program. something with which i know buzz disagrees. >> but what about, michael, this case involving rape, rape of a young boy. what do you do when you find that was covered up? >> you prosecute those who participated. and chris, the criminal process, one at a time, is dealing with these wrongdoers. sandusky is away for life. he'll never come out. paterno has passed on. and three more guys are about to have their day in court. i think that the criminal process is working. >> well, buzz, here's the problem. everybody watches. that's why we have criminal sanctions. not just to punish the guilty. not just to avenge a victim. although that's part of it. but to teach a lesson. what's the lesson here if penn state gets off scot-free and the the governor who was involved as
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attorney general not pushing the case hard enough perhaps, that's open to investigation, is the one that lets them go free. forget it ever happened. >> i agree with you. there should be penance. there should be punishment. we could argue this all day long. i don't think there's any doubt this went to the heart of the culture of football. this was a 15-year coverup that involved a well respected assistant coach who coached the defense. it took forever. they gave him every benefit of the doubt. they worried much more about him than the actual victims. this is the essence of the culture of football. corbett knows about the culture of football. all he talks about is how important it is in the suit. if these sanctions are lifted, then this thing is a mockery. this is one of the times i think the ncaa acted quickly and responsibly. and i think penn state should feel you know what? we're lucky we didn't get the death penalty. they went 7-5 this year.
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fans could still go to the games. if they play in a bowl game, state college is not going to get the money from that. and to take it away, for corbett to waste his time, it's not going anywhere. maybe he wants the 60 million but i think this was an absolute disgrace. >> last thought, michael. what's going to happen with this? is this going to save corbett or not? i personally don't think anybody is going to vote for a guy because of something like this, going the wrong way on something like this. but your thoughts. >> you can't beat somebody with nobody. it remains to be seen who emerges to run against him in next year's election. i would respond to buzz and say a lot of people got hurt in this sanction that played absolutely no role whatsoever in the scandal that took place. i think of the tap room owner who has a place off campus, and he relies on that trade. when the football program is diminished, his business goes down. that's not right. >> the trouble with that line of thinking is they can justify a lot. thank you, mike. i respect the thinking of the little guy there. thank you so much. we'll be right back. and thank you buzz bissinger. a great writer. you're watching "hardball," the
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let me finish tonight with this. i don't know what happened at penn state to get that school in so much trouble. not really. i believe crime was committed. i believe a horror occurred in that locker room. what i don't know what was told through the chain of command, what got to the president and how.

Hardball With Chris Matthews
MSNBC January 8, 2013 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

News/Business. (2013) (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Hagel 17, Us 13, Penn 8, Pennsylvania 8, Chuck Hagel 7, Israel 5, Penn State 5, Roxanna 5, Allstate 5, America 5, Iran 4, U.s. 4, Iraq 4, Washington 4, Tucson 4, Sandusky 4, Sandy 3, Alex Jones 3, Rendell 3, Dennis 3
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